Comparative Decision Making Studies

Analysis and Decision Support Tools

"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide." -- Napoleon Bonaparte

Graduate Certificate

(Anticipated to start in Fall 2011. Applications are invited.)

A multidisciplinary and integrative training program in Comparative Decision Making Studies (CDMS) is unique in its breadth of perspectives. The program blends empirical, conceptual, and theoretical approaches across differing levels of organization/decision makers (individuals, groups, institutions) and addressing differing levels of analysis (algorithmic, mechanistic, developmental, functional, and evolutionary). The research that supports this training program examines decision making:

  • in biological entities (plants and animals) using ecological, neurobiological, and cognitive approaches,
  • in a variety of human contexts using comparative and experimental techniques,
  • using theoretical constructs and mathematical and computer modeling, and
  • from the perspective of how decision support systems might assist individuals, communities, businesses, and organizations reach better and more efficient decisions.

Students in the CDMS program will develop mastery of their own discipline and take courses that explicitly develop methods of integrating multiple disciplines and focus on commonalities and differences in concepts of decision making. They will gain research experience outside their own field. Graduate students associated with CDMS will develop professionally within the context of increasingly collaborative research programs. They will gain intellectual breadth, analytical skills, an appreciation of diversity in academic culture, and collaborative experience well beyond what is possible within disciplines. CDMS training will position them to take full advantage of the evolving multidisciplinary academic world and to become leaders in an important emerging field.

A companion NSF-IGERT proposal is currently in the full proposal stage for the 2010-2011 grant cycle.